New Class-Action Suits Target EA, SecuROM, The Sims & Spore Creature Creator

GamePolitics has learned that a pair of new class-action lawsuits were lodged against Electronic Arts in October. Both suits were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and both target EA’s use of the controversial SecuROM digital rights management (DRM) software on the company’s PC games.

In the first case, a Pennsylvania man, Richard Eldridge, alleges that the Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition secretly installed SecuROM on his PC, a violation that Eldridge terms "deceptive and unlawful." From the suit:

The inclusion of undisclosed, secretly installed DRM protection measures with a program that was freely distributed constitutes a major violation of computer owners’ absolute right to control what does and what does not get loaded onto their computers, and how their computers shall be used…


[SecuROM] cannot be completely uninstalled. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer’s software portfolio…


EA’s EULA for Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition makes utterly no mention of any Technical Protection Measures, DRM technology, or SecuROM whatsoever…

In the second case, Dianna Cortez of Missouri, described as "an avid Sims player," makes similar claims against EA over the publisher’s alleged inclusion of SecuROM on The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, which she purchased in September, 2007. Cotrez claims that she immediately experienced problems with her PC :

After installing Bon Voyage, Ms. Cortez began having problems with her computer. She had previously made backup Sims 2 game content on CDs, but her computer’s disc drive would no longer recognize that content, reporting the CDs as empty. She could not access files that were saved on her USB flash drive or iPod, either…

Cortez alleges that she was only able to get rid of SecuROM by reformatting her PC. She accuses EA of engaging in "unfair business practices" as well as conduct that is "immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous..."

The new suits are the second and third filed recently by consumers in regard to EA’s use of SecuROM. A woman named Melissa Thomas filed a similar suit in relation to Spore in September. Thomas and new plaintiff Richard Eldridge are represented by the same law firm.

Docu-grab: Eldridge vs. Electronic Arts

Docu-grab: Cortez vs. Electronic Arts

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  1. Jfed says:

    Amen to that, Magnavus.  I sincerely hope you continue to be problem free, and thanks for reading my blitherings.  🙂

  2. magnavus says:

    JFed: You are right, I do have SecuROM on my laptop. It came with an update for my CD/DVD/Blu-ray re-writer, which I got from Sony.

    There is no benefit to paying customers that have problems with SecuROM, it causes more problems than it solves and they should go back to simple disk checks like they did before SecuROM.

    I just hope that EA and all other companies using SecuROM realise that they should find a way of preventing piracy without harming their customers before they end up losing more than just customers.

  3. Jfed says:

    @Magnavus:  I’d never fault someone for making up their own mind.  🙂  You’ve had good experiences, and I honestly have thoroughly enjoyed my TS2 games, no doubt.  That’s why I get so ticked off (and verbose) – I want to continue to enjoy them but this whole Securom thing has ruined that for me and many others.  I did the right thing and paid for all my games.  Piracy had no effect on me until EA made it so.  It feels unfair and exploitative and I cannot support that, no matter how good a game is or how much I want to have it.  I won’t pirate out of spite, but I won’t buy either, so the result is the same for EA.  They lost me as a long time paying customer.

    You likely do have Securom installed (older versions weren’t as problematic as the current v7.3xx, the version EA’s used since April 2007 on all PC releases).  You have to enable the viewing of hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer to see them, as they’re hidden by default from the user.

    The news never gets better with Securom, lol.

    This isn’t to say I’m not happy you haven’t had issues, I truly am.  But it kind of points something out:  where is the benefit to paying customers from Securom?  I seriously cannot think of any, and any benefit is outweighed by the problems it can cause.  Publishers don’t have to use such invasive technology to prevent casual piracy when disk checks suffice, Securom has been shown repeatedly to do nothing to prevent large scale illegal distribution, and it is primarily there to leash only paying customers with activation limits, information collecting, or blacklisting of software that Sony (the makers of Securom) or the publisher have deemed somehow inappropriate.  It doesn’t fully uninstall when the game is removed and unless you trawl the internet you won’t have clue one that problems you have after installing a game are possibly due to Securom…

    It’s a mess that I don’t want.  If people know all this stuff beforehand and still choose to buy, I won’t fault them for that.  At least they know what to expect.  I won’t have sympathy if they have problems, but it was their *informed* choice to buy.

    But they didn’t get that information from EA (or any other publisher using it), and that’s the bugbear.

  4. magnavus says:

    It is not acceptable, because your PC/Laptop is your own property and they shouldn’t be allowed to install anything on your system without permission.

    I now know why I haven’t had a problem with SecuROM, SecuROM wasn’t installed on my laptop and I have 7 games installed that all have SecuROM DRM Protection, 5 of which are from EA.

    EA has always been good to me, every problem I have had their Technical Support has solved that problem with 24 hours and I get updates (almost daily) from their Community Leader (the guy that is meant to listen to EAs customers). I do realise that alot of people haven’t had the same treatment from EA and I do agree with you, they have made a mistake, one that could cost them alot of money and customers.

    I know people will question what I’m about to say.

    I am going to put my faith in EA and hope they work this out, if they don’t, I’ll still be a loyal customer (if they don’t go bankrupt) and gamer of EA.

    I am not insulted by your remark and I know how people that have problems with SecuROM feel, I have had problems with Black Isle in the past, the Baldur’s Gate series in particular, I have had my pc drive reformatted and replaced because of the Baldur’s Gate games I installed. They didn’t even have any technical support for this type of problem and it affected alot of people.

  5. Jfed says:

    Magnavus:  EA’s a behemoth that puts out a lot of PC games, for one, so their stable of Securom ‘protected games’ provide a huge sampling of what can and does go wrong for end users who bought and installed those games.

    EA’s notorious lack of support for those with issues is another common experience.

    I didn’t have tech issues with Securom (that I knew of), but I didn’t give it the chance either:  I 86’d it from my computer as soon as I could once I knew of the problems it was causing for others.  Bon Voyage was the first and last game I’d ever install that used Securom – I’d only installed BV because I wasn’t informed on the Securom issue until after purchase and execution of the game on my computer.

    I’ve also been a customer of EA Games for nigh on a decade.  A loyal, paying customer.  I bought the first Sims game on pure impulse in 2000 and was hooked ever after until EA broke the customer/vendor deal I’d always respected, they took my money and put my personal property at risk.  That makes me go all Thunderdome:  break a deal, face the wheel – gulag!

    If EA had responded differently to the numerous complaints about Securom, we wouldn’t be talking about it right now.  There are definitely problems with Securom for more than just a handful of people, from very real tech issues to ideological objections.  I’m boycotting EA for many reasons, one of which is now pure disgust at how they run their boards and make business decisions that only continue to hurt those they need most:  paying customers.

    I’m continually astonished at how many more copies of games they could sell if they just went back to simple disk checks…and why they won’t see that…Sims games sold over 100 million copies with only simple, non-invasive disk checks…the support issues alone that accompany Securom must be a money-sucking rathole…

    Sympathy for devs protecting product has dried up as well…how did it come to the paying customer being the enemy?  Piracy is NOT the paying customers’ problem, so why are they dragooned into a fight they’re not part of?

    Everyone is losing here.  Except pirates.  This is fail and a smart company would adapt – EA is not being smart, they’re being devious and stupid, a truly pathetic combination.  Do they continue to make money?  Yes.  But not from me for over a year now.  I see them for what they are and what they’ve done.  It’s quite easy to avoid a brand that has only 2 letters in its name and this is what is lethal to their bottom line.  Multiply me by thousands.  Multiply money current and future lost to them from me alone by thousands.  Multiply my broken loyalty by thousands.

    Now multiply those numbers by all the games other than The Sims2 that use Securom.

    Securom uses your computer and your internet resources but is not fully documented on any game package nor in any EULA.  It operates outside of the confines of the game and dictates how you use your personal property.  It can and does alter the function of a computer upon which it is installed without your control or consent.  It transmits unknown information over the internet from your computer, and, if you take the rather commonly given advice to shut down antivirus so your games run more smoothly, that’s info coming and going over an unprotected internet connection.

    That’s just the basics of Securom activity – why is this acceptable to anyone, whether they’ve had problems or not?

    I’ve never been hit by a car, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to others.  I saw people I’ve known for years via the TS2 community, people I know and trust not to be hysterics or bandwaggoners and know their way around a computer, have drives disabled and games rendered unplayable from erroneous error messages due to Securom.  I saw some of them called liars or pirates, I saw EA personnel refuse to take their questions or complaints or pleas for guidance seriously.  I also saw those EA employees have to backpedal and admit that Securom caused these issues.  And that was just on the Sims2 boards, I’ve since seen the same over and over on any number of game community boards over the past year.

    It’s gotten to the point that when someone claims they’ve never had problems with Securom, I do sincerely wonder if they buy and crack or just torrent their games, since that’s truly the only way to know you won’t have issues caused by Securom.

    If you’re insulted by that remark, then you know how those who bought and did have Securom problems feel when they get marginalized, reduced, or ignored by not only other gamers but the game company that created the problem.

  6. magnavus says:

    I run every C&C game, Battlefield 2142 and Crysis. As far as I know Crysis, Red alert 3, C&C 3, Kanes wrath and 2142 have SecuROM.

    I run CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Writers, I have never had a problem with them.

    So far every comment I have read here are directed at EA, I have not seen any other company mentioned here yet, apart from you mentioning SONY.

  7. LE102071 says:

    I have had.. and I know it’s a faux pas to state it.. but, I use hacks now.. It’s probably an assine thing to do, but I buy the games… find the hack or crack to run it w/o the SuckuRom.. and have a good time.

    I don’t mind the developers getting paid for their hard work on the games they make.. that I *really* enjoy… But, after the problems I had with BV… and the runaround I got from both EA support and Sony… it’s just not worth the headache anymore.

    I just find it amazingly stupid that according to EA and Sony, the SecuRom DRM is there to prevent/inhibit piracy.. and yet BV was cracked the day it was released.. and Spore.. well, that was cracked BEFORE it was released, because the idiots at EA put the version of SuckuRom that would be on Spore, onto the FREE CC!

    This just gets me so wound up.. <ugh>

    I do hope the lawsuits go somewhere… and I hope they are forced to remove SecuRom from all current/future products they produce.

    I don’t have a problem with EA adding anti-piracy stuff to protect their interests.. but using SecuRom, that has a well-established history of causing HARM to people’s computers at worst.. and at least disabling computer components without giving the information to the consumer that it does so.

    As an aside.. I also find it very disturbing that EA/Sony both REFUSE to list the information that Sony receives from consumer computers through the use of SecuRom…

    I had to send a ‘report’ to Sony when I had the problems with BV.. and I am more than a little curious, myself, to know what information was sent.

    Anyway… here’s hoping that the suit goes through, and that EA does the right thing about it.

    Magnavus, EA started putting SecuRom on their games, I believe, with the release of The Sims 2 expansion, Bon Voyage, and has been included in all releases since.  Before SecuRom, they used the program SafeDisk, and as another long-term Maxis/EA customer (99, with the release of The Sims,) never had any problems with them.

    What EA games do you run, currently?  Do you run peripherals like CD Writer, DVD Writer..  iPod or other media?  Have you had any problems with them not working appropriately?

    Do a search for SecuRom online, and look up the issues that people have had with it…  To me, it isn’t really an EA ‘witch hunt,’ it’s a SecuRom witch hunt.  "We" want EA to cease using SecuRom..  use another, without the heinous reputation that SecuRom has for causing so many problems for so many people.

    – Peace

  8. magnavus says:

    I have been an EA Gamer and Customer for close to 10 years now and I have never had a problem with SecuROM in any of their games. I would also like to know why you are just targeting EA, when almost all Gaming companies use SecuROM or another form of DRM.

  9. tallimar says:

    as much as i would love to see that happen, the slippery slope argument can say that other publishers will see EA pull out of the PC market and do the same thing (without so much as pulling their heads out of their ass and seeing the securom fiasco for the BS that it is).  still though, doesnt stop one from wishing.

  10. Zero Beat says:

    Often times, people will buy the game and then download the crack.  You get to have fun playing your game and reward good game design with your money, but without the virus/malware/we-hate-paying-customers-ware.

  11. Zero Beat says:

    Often times, people will buy the game and then download the crack.  You get to have fun playing your game and reward good game design with your money, but without the virus/malware/we-hate-paying-customers-ware.

  12. DeepThorn says:


    Ahhh, there is a bit more light.

    Yeah, the more they piss off consumers, the happier I am.  I don’t want them to be in business anymore with the crap they pull.  (Sim Animals…  wtf…)

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    Financial Calculator for anyone interested in a small glance.

  13. Spartan says:

    As if that would be a bad thing for PC gamers…


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  14. DarkSaber says:

    Little chance of a photo op for Hal I guess.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  15. TBoneTony says:

    Even though the Publishers are doing this because of Piracy, there is no need to hurt the honest consumer like EA is currently doing with DRM.

    That is when a business is doing too far. The Consumer is the one who is hurting and that is not a good sign for a Publisher.


    EA needs to Scrap their DRM on their software or else there may be more problems in their games. I really feel for the PC gamers because not only do they have to pay money for computer upgrades for their games but also they have to deal with the DRM and as I may guess it really hurts.

  16. Derovius says:

     America, the only place in the world where something this utterly greedy and nonsensical would have possibly been approved.

  17. Spartan says:

    I still wonder why the ECA is not activly involved in these kind of suits. DRM is the battle for consumers rights is taking place right now.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  18. Jfed says:

    Apologies if I misunderstand, but if by ‘the current thing’ you mean activation limits, it’s still Securom.  TheSims2 BonVoyage disks (released Sept. 07) and its followups, for example, use Securom but have no activation limits (nor online only authentication).  Mass Effect PC and Spore, on the other hand, have the same protection but also have those limits enabled.  From what I understand (at the securom website), it’s up to the publisher which functions of Securom are enabled for a particular release. 

    Version 7.3xx seems to be the one causing the most problems, activations or not.  With TS2 BonVoyage, FreeTime, and ApartmentLife, those problems include disabled optical drives, error messages preventing game startup, and unrecognized peripherals.  You see those issues crop up with any game that uses this version of Securom (Bioshock, MEPC, Crysis, to name a few).

    And only for those with legal, purchased copies of the games.

    I remember very vividly when TS2 BonVoyage came out a few people bought new disk drives thinking they were broken when the drive software had actually been disabled by Securom.  But since no one told them to look for issues due to a game they installed, they had no idea it could be a possibility.  Prior to that, all TS2 games came with a simple CD check/disk in drive type copy protection (some version of SafeDisc) that no one really heard a peep about over the many years that the game’s been out.

    There’s definitely a lot of deception going on regarding the use, activity, and potential effects on people’s personal property due to Securom.  I think EA’s really stepped in it.  Their ‘talk to the hand’ mentality about it only makes it stink worse.

  19. CyberSkull says:

    I sincerely hope that these lawsuits force EA and other companies to not install these malware apps on computers.

  20. AuntySocial says:

    Good Golly Miss Molly……..All I really want them to do is heal my poor suck-you-wrong infected baby, and replace my infected discs with ones without the garbage.  I really would appreciate it, if they would buy the world a coke while they’re at it.



    Insanity has its toll. Please have exact change.

  21. Baruch_S says:

    ‘Bout time SecuROM came back to bite someone. The fact that it’s EA makes this even better. Maybe companies will wise up and start following Stardock’s model (yeah right, but we can dream).

  22. MartyB says:

     The only way to make a compagny change it’s ways, or make a recall, is to make it too expensive not to.

    Making them lose more money for adding Securom, then the loss of money through piracy.  if it becomes a too much of a hasle, then they’ll stop.  (And don’t give me that 1 crack game = 1 lost sale, alot of games  cracked was because its not worth the purchase, like a day’s worth then never run it again, I wouldn’t of bought that)

    this is a good thing some ppl notice these flaws in EULA and doing something about it.  but this could back fire and they’ll make the EULA even more strict then it is, and be able to install whatever they want and still be protected.

    I have enough Spam as it is, i don’t need more shit running in the background screwing my computer up even more.

  23. Jfed says:

    To the best of my knowledge, EA started using some form of Securom (made by Sony DADC, see for their sales info) on all games they released from April of 2007.

  24. Zero Beat says:

    Why the hell are they putting anti-piracy measures in a FREE game?!  There’s not even a potential for loss!

  25. transformergirl says:

    Really? Didn’t know that….so I suppose if EA loses the lawsuit, they’ll sue Sony for making Securom.

    "No really, your Honor, we didn’t know the product we bought from Sony would do that to people’s pcs!"

  26. transformergirl says:

    I’m not really surprised. It’s the reason why I don’t buy any of EA’s computer games. I’m only surprised that it’s taken this long for a law suit to come out. Does anyone remember the case against Sony Music (I believe it was them..feel free to correct) for putting protection on the music cd’s and when people put them in the computer to burn on their ipod, it messed up their computers? They had a class action lawsuit as well as having to e-mail everyone who had purchased any of the DRM cds to offer DRM-free replacements (I know because I remember recivieng the e-mail. Thank God I never put the cd in my computer before that). Not to sure will happen here, but I’ll try to keep my eye on these case…

  27. jptech says:

    Agreed.  They’re using demos to sneak securom onto people’s computers.  Without disclosure, they could be violating laws.  Lest we forget they’re also releasing securom with their games over steam.  Really?  Is double DRM necessary?


    Somewhere in the EA lairs, some whitehair executive is being grossly misinformed about due diligence.

  28. DeepThorn says:

    Yeah…  Of course I couldn’t call that a demo.  If it does qualify as one, then it is a bad one.  Demos are suppose to show you the gameplay.   Though this may be the main point on why some people baught the game, it has no gameplay features.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    Financial Calculator for anyone interested in seeing the basic run

  29. fischju says:

     If you are so concerned to the security of your IP that you put securom on a demo, you are REALLY doing something wrong. 

  30. Thad says:

    Class-action lawsuits?  Brilliant!  I wonder why nobody thought of that, or put it in the title of this article, in the titlebar of the browser, in two different headings at the top of the page, in the first sentence of the article, and in the subject line of every single comment, including yours.

  31. Austin_Lewis says:

    What we need are some class action lawsuits.  That’s where the money is, and it’s also an interesting why to get the company’s attention when 4000 people have the same grievance and are demanding punitive and retributive damages.

  32. DeepThorn says:

    Yeah, I was agreeing to that, and just throwing out there how I wish the trial actually included at least a tiny 30 seconds of gameplay to test your creature in to make it a demo, not just the roam around circle…  then maybe 5 minutes if you paid for the ‘full trial’.  Of course, I don’t support ever putting a price tag on any demo.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    Financial Calculator for anyone interested in seeing the basic run

  33. MrKlorox says:

    He’s not saying that the Creature Creator is a demo for Spore, he’s saying that the TRIAL of the Creature Creator (which equates to a demo of the CC) installs SecuROM.

  34. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I second the FacePalm.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  35. Jfed says:

    There’s a fourth lawsuit against EA, regarding Mass Effect PC, as well – that one addresses activation limits in addition to the technical issues created by Securom brought up in the other suits.  This site has them broken out, law firm contact info too:

    EA’s had over a year to listen to paying customers and do right by them but have done nothing of the kind.  To this day they won’t disclose what Securom is doing on your computer, the full extent of limitations on their products, nor do they mention anything about conflicts or effects of Securom on an end user’s computer prior to purchase.  It should never have come to lawsuits, but that’s EA’s attitude for ya.  Hopefully these suits will put all publishers on notice that using players’ computers and internet connections to do their DRM dirty work are not violations that will be tolerated by anyone who is made aware of them.  And that’s an ever growing number, EA.

  36. Pierre-Olivier says:

    About time.

    I don’t know if there are EA representative in Québec because there would be enough ground for a lawsuit (and even a refund) thanks to the OPC ("office de la protection du consommateur" Can be roughly translated as Consumer protection office).

  37. PHX Corp says:

    I think the consumer revolution has moved from "Tone-Deaf"Comcast to "Newly Tone-Deaf EA"

    Should we form a site called to make the people in various game companies see that We’re having problems with thier stuff (Just like

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